HR Jetpack

Develop a concise, simple story

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Develop a concise, simple story

Lesson Content

You have pages of data. You have detailed information about your topic and you know what action needs to be taken as a result. But how do you compress all of it into a concise message? What’s the best means to organize and deliver the data?  Let’s go back to our template and you see that we’re right on our next slide here, Title and Content slide.

Let’s add a subtitle. Go up to Insert. Select the Textbox. And we’re going to drop it right underneath the heading. See that it turned into an upside down “t”. I’m going to carry it all the way over so it is the same width as the heading. Let’s go up to font. Keeping it consistent, type in Arial and then we’ll have 28. And we’re going to type in “Tell the story”. So the content that we’re adding into this slide is actually going to be a reminder for us telling us what we need to do in order to tell the story. What questions do we need to answer in order to tell the story.

So let me go back up here to Format and just double check that it is 12” in width. And now we’re going to go down to our textbox which is actually already formatted for us, it’s 12” in width. We’ll go over to the Home tab and double check it’s Arial and it’s 20 so that’s perfect for what we need to add into this particular box.

I like to use the 5 Ws to help me extract my key points from data and organize them. The Who What When Where and Why…plus a sixth question How? These questions help you to build the context for the presentation so you can get buy in from your audience. Let’s start with the Who? Who is the audience? For our purposes we know it’s Senior leaders or your senior management team. Now what I want you to notice is as I’m typing in words, what happens with capitalization. I’m very cautious about what words I capitalize especially in shorter sentences or shorter phrases. A lot of times I don’t even use a full sentence so I can just get right to the point of what I want my audience to take away. Next question. We’re going to hit Tab twice and we’re going to type in What is the problem? So what is it that’s happening that you need to address in this presentation? And then the When. When does the problem occur or when has it occurred? Is it something in the past or something that’s still happening? What’s that timeframe that you can attach to it? And then we’ll hit Enter twice. Where is the problem occurring? Is it throughout the company? It is at your facility? And then we want to take the Why. Why is the problem occurring? Now you might not even know the answer to that question just yet. It might be something that you have to talk about with your group or their might be more data that you need to find in order to answer that question. You might have to have that discussion. And finally, let’s type How. How can your team address the problem? This is identifying your call to action. What does your team need to be doing? Now I want you to notice that I didn’t use any bullets but instead I left a space between each of my questions, each of the lines of the text the I added. In my experience, bullets were yet another distraction to the audience. However, you can still use them. You want to go up to the paragraph section right here and you can select regular bullets or you can even put it into an outline format.

Now we’re going to use our template to address the first question. We know who our audience is in this particular case. But our next four questions we’re going to need to use several more slides, probably around 3-4, in order to get our message across. So you want to use this as a reminder. Now at this point, what I going to do is actually reduce the size of the textbox because of what I’m going to insert over here on the right hand side. So let’s select this dot and let’s line it up with the 2. Okay. That’s going to give us plenty of room and if we need to add any other text, we should be able to fit it. So let’s go up to Insert, and this time we’re going to insert a Right Brace. That’s right here, right in the top. Select it. You see our cursor turns into a plus sign. And what I want to do is put it over on the right hand side as if I’m almost highlighting those questions right there. Knowing that this brace actually encompassing those set of questions. So I’m going to move this over just a little bit and I’m going to extend it here out so it’s a little bit bigger. And now keeping consistent with the color of the font I want to make this shape outline black so we want to remove that default. And then I want to add another textbox so let’s go to Insert. Textbox. And we’re going to drop it right in front of this little arrow right here. We’re going to go up to the font, change it to Arial and we’re going to make the font size, 20 so it matches with the rest of our font size on the particular content slide. And we’re going to type in 3-4 slides. And I’m going to go up to paragraph and I’m going to hit center. And now I want to take this textbox and I just want to line it up a little bit better with my little arrow here on the left hand side. So I’m going to nudge it. I’m going to use the little arrows on my keyboard to line it up perfectly. This is a reminder. And of course this is helpful for anyone else who may be creating a professional presentation for you to know that you’re probably going to spend about 3-4 slides of content on these particular questions. Now I know this may seem short but I strongly recommend keeping it simple.

Your message will get lost if there are too many slides. In my experience, I didn’t have much more than about 5 minutes to get to my point.  So if you don’t have a time limit, you still want to keep it under 10 minutes. This is going to push you to be more concise. Typically, a good rule of thumb is to spend between 1-2 minutes on each slide. And you can also leave time for questions at the very end of your presentation.

You really can’t dedicate no more than probably about 2 slides to answering the sixth question, the how. So what I’m going to do is copy and paste my brace here. So I’m going to select it. I’m going to go back up to Home. And I’m going to select Copy from the drop down menu and I’m going to hit the Paste button. And I want to bring it down here as if I’m going to highlight the how question. Of course, I need to make it a lot smaller. I’m going to condense it. Drag it back up and condense it just a little bit more. So you notice though that it’s still the same size, here. But it is not the same width. So now let’s go up and we’re going to copy and paste this textbox. Let’s go up here. Let’s go to Copy. Let’s go to Paste. And let’s move the textbox down so it is in front of this second arrow. Now what I want to point your attention to is the fact that there are these little red lines that are appearing to help you match up each of your textboxes to your pictures or to other boxes. It comes in so handy when you’re trying to make sure you have a nice, clean format. So let’s delete 3-4 and add in 1-2. It’s probably going to be about 1-2 slides that you’re going to identify and talk about your call to action.

Now there's actually one question missing...have you figured it out? Let’s go back into our main text box. Hit Enter twice and we’re going to type in, How much? Does the proposed solution have a cost? OR does the problem have a cost that you need to mention? We know how important it is to ensure our that managers understand the financial impact of the issue. In fact, it could be a primary concern and you might even get asked the question even if you don’t address it. So it’s always good to have an answer in your back pocket even if it’s not in the presentation itself.

Now you’re going that our final question here is lagging behind. It’s really towards the bottom. So what we’re going to do is go out of the textbox and we’re going to select all of the content on the screen. So we’re going to do this, select all the content. Now you’ll see that everything is selected even our How Much question, even though it appears as if it is outside of the actual presentation. And we’re going to nudge it up using the up arrow on our keyboard so that it’s one dot above the gridline. Right there. Okay. So then that way it doesn’t appear as though any content that we have towards the bottom of the slide is just so close to the end it almost looks like it could get cut off.

Now it’s time to save our presentation as a template so we can keep reusing it. Go up to File, select save as, Click Browse, select the Powerpoint Presentation Template from the drop down menu. So you’re going to see here, right underneath, it is the 6th selection down. So we’re going to select that. See where it’s going to go? It actually goes into its own folder called Custom Office Templates. It’s pretty cool. And we’re going to save this as Professional Template. And click Save. Hit enter on your keyboard. So there it is. Now we could close out of this or we could select a new one. So let me just go into file and demonstrate what you do. So go to New. Go to Personal. And you’ll notice that the only presentation there to choose from is Professional Template. So let’s double click on it. We’re going to click Create and there you go. Now we have our own professional template that we can keep reusing to build all of our presentations.

Christina Danforth


Christina Danforth

Christina A. Danforth, SHRM-SCP & SPHR, launched HR Jetpack in 2016 to support the development and professional growth of her fellow HR colleagues. She started her HR career in 2002....

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